Monday, January 26, 2009

What are backlinks and why are they so important

A backlink, also known as an inbound link, is a link that directs back to your site from another site. They are one of the key ways to get your site noticed by the major search engines, especially Google. When someone thinks the content of your site is important enough to put on their site, the search engine spiders will index that content and place you on the search engine so you don't have to do it manually.

The higher the number of backlinks you have the higher the rank the search engine will give your site. But, keep in mind, it's not just the number of backlinks, it is also the quality of the backlink that is important. A search engine will consider a backlink good in quality it its content is related to the content of your site. So it's good to get backlinks from sites with a similar content base.

Here are some ways that you can build backlinks:

  1. Run contests and giveaways
  2. List your site in directories like DMOZ
  3. Post in forums. In some forums, when you post, it is acceptable to add a link to your site in your signature line.
  4. Post comments on blogs that are similar in content to yours. Post comments that are relevant and sincere, don't just comment for the sake of creating a backlink.
  5. Comment on Ezine articles
  6. Google has a great feature called Alerts. You can enter search terms related to your niche and google will alert you by email or feed when your search terms are found in the latest articles, latest blog posts, latest web pages, latest videos and the latest 'group' posts. For backlinking purposes you can choose to be alerted only when your search terms show up in new blog posts so you can visit that blog and leave a comment.
  7. Build Hubpages
  8. Build Squidoo Lenses
  9. Submit your RSS feed to twitter so every time you create a new post to your blog it will be automatically tweeted for you.
  10. Write about things people want to know. People are always looking for good information, tutorials and how-to's
**To find out if your blog or site has backlinks, enter the url of your site into the search bar of google with the 'link:' key in front of it and hit search. ex. link:

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Woman, A Niche and A Successful Business

While most women would shriek if there was a mouse in their house, there is one woman I know on Etsy who has set out to change all that. At The House of Mouse you could be greeted by Vincent Van Gogh Mouse, Lulu the Belly Dancer Mouse or even Elvis Mouse, and these are just a few of the incredibly adorable felted mice that are just waiting for you to take them home.

Anna, the creator and owner of The House of Mouse got her start on Etsy in January 2008. Since then, her mice have been featured on the Front Page over 30 times and she has received over 5000 hearts. This comes as absolutely no surprise to me as the first time I visited The House of Mouse, I found myself smiling at how cute they all were and when I saw Frankenstein Mouse I actually laughed out loud.
I was so impressed with the creativeness and imagination that went into each mouse, I just had to contact Anna and see if she would let me have a closer look into The House of Mouse. I was so delighted when she replied back having answered all the questions I sent her. What really touched me was that she took the time to let me get to know her even though she was extremely busy with several custom orders - that's good people!

So now I want to share with you Anna's story and her piece of Etsy known as The House of Mouse.

Q. Tell us a little about your Etsy shop and what made you choose your particular niche?

A. My name is Anna and I make little felt mouse ornaments. My mice are inspired by jobs and hobbies, movies, special occasions, famous people, monsters and just about anything that grabs my imagination. Each little mouse has their own personality and character. I didn’t really choose my niche, it chose me!

Q. Where does the inspiration for the mice come from?

A. I originally made my mice as Christmas gifts for my family back in Dec 2007; a Photographer Mouse for my father who loves taking pictures, an Artist Mouse for my painter friend, Reading mice for my bookworm friends etc… They went down so well that I decided to sell them. I can hardly believe how well they have been received!

After Christmas I was inundated with other suggestions from the people that received them! I regularly think of other mice to make while doing my everyday things, I’ll be watching a movie and think “Oh, a Supermouse would be cool!” sometimes it is from finding an object and trying to see it from a mouse-size point of view. For example the Gladiator Mouse's shield is actually a particularly ugly earring I picked up at a car boot sale. Suffice it to say the ideas hit me all the time. I also regularly get suggestions from people visiting my shop or any of the social networks where I advertise. And there is continued stream of suggestions from my friends. I have a little book I always carry with me to keep all the ideas in.

Q. How long does it take to make each mouse?

A. A mouse can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 4 hours, depending on its complexity. I make the popular ones in batches to try to speed up the process a bit. I am a lot faster at it than when I first started.
Q. Do you have any marketing or business background? I ask because your expansion of your business into pins, gift cards and bookmarks shows really good business sense.

A. No I don’t have any experience with marketing or business. Before I made mice I was a professional oil painter for 3 years after I left Art Collage. (If you want to see my oil paintings you can go to They don’t teach you anything about running a business at art school, something I think is really lacking in the education of artists. But those three years did teach me about balancing my finances and keeping an eye on the books.

To be honest a lot of the business and marketing decisions I make are based on common sense and observation. I read a lot of advice on running a store on Etsy and off. I also buy a lot of hand made things, not only because they are beautiful but also so I can see what it is like from a buyer’s point of view. I make note of things that annoy or frustrate me and make sure that I avoid doing the same thing in my own store.

Q. I know that selling your mice is the objective, but do you ever get a little sad to see them go?

A. Yes I do. They are like my little babies and it is sometimes very hard to let them go. I have a few I keep at home, never to be sold. I love it when I visit family who have some of my mice, so that I can see the mice too and give them a little kiss on the nose.

Q. Have you ever had a request for a particular mouse that was a little odd?

A. Oh yes, several. But then you might argue that some of the mice I make for my store are a little odd. I am sure some people think I am crazy to make an Executioner Mouse with a little severed mouse head, or a Zombie mouse with blood down his front. I love the macabre and cute together, it tickles my funny bone.

Q. What would you say were the keys to your success here at Etsy.

A. Before putting my first listing up I read EVERYTHING I could find about selling on Etsy. I read all the FAQs and Terms and conditions, I read the DOs and DON’Ts of Etsy and I read all the links to tutorials setting up your store. I found the etsy blog and read all about photographing items, what to write in my policies, profile and shop announcement etc. You might say I was too well prepared! But it got me off on the right foot and I made my first sale on the day I listed my first item. For my first year on Etsy I was obsessed with my store, I was constantly looking for ways to improve and expand it. I ate, slept and breathed it. I also spent as much time promoting my store as I did making mice.

Now that I am into my 2nd year on Etsy I am able to relax a bit because my store is pretty well known already. I can focus on completing my never ending list of custom orders as well as finding some balance between my home life and business. But I am still looking for ways to improve; it is so easy to become dated.
Q. If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting out here at Etsy, what would it be?

A. Read up on everything you can find on making your store great and then implement it. Most of what you need is right there on Etsy already. I even put the most useful links all in the same place:

Here are more places that you can find Anna and her family of mice
My Blog:
My Twitter:
My Flickr:
My Myspace:

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Anna and The House of Mouse as much as I did. Drop by her store and have a look around, I'm sure she has a mouse that would be perfect for you or someone you love.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Time For A Little Artist Recognition

I am into my second month at Etsy and I am still in awe of all the incredible talent that can be found there. Not only are these artists gifted in their respected crafts, but I can honestly say that they are a really good group of people.

Take a look along the sides of this blog, I have posted a bunch of new shop mini's for you to look at. Visit their stores, admire their work and take a moment to appreciate the dedication and skill that goes into each of their creations.

If you want to give a gift from the heart, give a gift that is handmade :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let's Talk About StumbleUpon and How It Can Work For You

For those of you who don't know what StumbleUpon is, first let me say that once you start stumbling it will be very hard to stop. But seriously, StumbleUpon is a website where you can find and share some really great stuff on the web.

To get started you will need to open an account (it's free). Then you can install the sites toolbar to make stumbling easier. You can choose from a large list of topics so when you stumble you will be brought to sites that are more likely to interest you. Once on a site, you can then vote as to whether or not you like it and if you do you can review it. When you discover a new site not yet on StumbleUpon, a box will pop-up for you to submit additional information about the site. You can add tags to the site, but make these general so the site you're submitting can be found easier by other stumblers.

So, how can StumbleUpon be beneficial in regards to your shop and blog. Well, for starters, once you have established yourself within the community, when a influential stumbler stumbles your content it can bring you a lot of visitors. This won't happen overnight, but if you stumble regularly you will start to reap the rewards.

Take advantage of the social network within Stumbleupon. Make friends with people who have similar interests. Establishing relationships can direct attention to your shop and blog and from that you can acquire some incoming links to the content on your blog.

Basically, StumbleUpon is another way to get yourself 'out there'. It is a huge community with a ton of potential buyers.

A few last thoughts....

Post a link to your StumbleUpon profile on your blog so your readers will know you're there - here's mine

Write reviews on things you come across, the more you review and make your online voice heard the more people will notice you

You don't always have to choose the homepage of a site to submit, look within the site for the most interesting content and submit that.


have fun and stumble :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

25 Ways To Promote Your Blog For Free

  1. Use a lot of pictures
  2. Leave comments on other blogs. Make sure they are relevant and useful.
  3. Have an RSS Feed
  4. Submit to blog directories
  5. Add a bookmark link to every post
  6. Start a 2nd blog and link to yourself
  7. Join BlogCatalog and join communities
  8. Join MyBlogLog and join communities
  9. Use social bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon
  10. Create follow-up posts to give the original post some added attention. Write a second post to extend the thoughts of the first post
  11. Submit your blog to web directories
  12. Make sure your blog is indexed on the main search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN
  13. Exchange links with blogs of similar interests
  14. Create an account with Technorati and submit your blog url
  15. Create a Google sitemap on your blog to help get it fully indexed
  16. Link out to other blogs in your posts and have a blogroll of your favorite blogs
  17. Submit articles to Ezines
  18. Create a lens at Squidoo
  19. Make sure your blog address is on your business cards
  20. Offer an email newsletter by adding a Feedburner subscription box
  21. If your blog hosting site offers a place to tag your posts - use them
  22. Make sure that your content is good. Be sure to use the spellcheck feature and try to use proper grammar
  23. Write your blog posts as if you are talking to a friend. Tap into your readers emotions
  24. Use Twitterfeed to tweet new blog posts via a RSS feed
  25. Sign up with Entrecard

And most important, have fun with your blog! If you are not interested in it, others won't be either.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Does it get any cuter - my newest treasury

Click here to see it and give it some love :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

How Far Do You Go To Promote Artists and Their Treasuries

Treasuries are not only a celebration of the artists whose work has been chosen, but they also show the creativeness of the curator. A lot of effort goes into creating a beautiful treasury. There are so many wonderful items to choose from and picking ones that not only compliment each other but also fit within the scope of the theme can be quite a process. I know I do several tweaks and adjustments before I am truly happy with the end result.

I think it's important to visit treasuries. I believe that admiring them, appreciating the time and effort put forth to create them and leaving an encouraging comment of approval for the curator is a great form of promoting the artist. But I don't think it should end there.

Just as important, is clicking on each of the items within the treasury. This is another fantastic way to promote not only the curator but also the featured products creator. The higher on the list the treasury is, the more views it will receive. People will begin to get curious about the treasury's popularity and not wanting to feel like they are missing out on something, they will also view it. The more views, the more clicks and the closer the treasury gets to the number one spot, which gives the items more exposure, which raises the potential for some fellow artists to get some sales.

While some might say, "Yeah, that's great for the curator and the artists in the treasury, but what about me?" Unfortunately, we live in a world of instant gratification, but I think we need to go back to believing the old adage, 'What comes around, goes around'.

Good karma will always bounce back to you and many times in ways you wouldn't otherwise expect.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My New Treasury

I have had a few treasuries on Treasury West, but I have never had one on the main treasury until today. I am so excited :) It just opened today and will go the next 3 days so if you could go visit it and give it some love I sure would appreciate it and I will gladly do the same for anyone else when they get one. Just convo me :)

Here it is:

Here is the link to it

Me Just Showing Off

I don't normally post pictures of my little girl, but I just got her school pictures yesterday and I they are adorable. Just had to show her off :)

She is a total ham....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just Good Business

Having an Etsy shop can be a very challenging venture, especially for a jewelry seller like myself. But no matter what you sell, a little customer service can go a long way. When someone makes a purchase from you, do you send them a convo thanking them for their order? Do you let them know when you shipped the item? I know there are many sellers who probably process several orders each day, and convo'g each one to acknowledge their order could take up a good amount of time. But the way I look at it is, if the customer took the time to stop by your shop and buy something, then you should take the extra few minutes to say thank you

Buying something online requires a lot of trust on the part of the buyer. There is no immediate gratification, they are relying on your photos being a good representation of the item and they are trusting that your descriptions are accurate and truthful. If you don't at least let the customer know that you shipped their item, they are left to wonder if their order was even received and they are left to helplessly wait everyday for their item to arrive.

Taking the extra time for your customers could be the difference between a one time sale and a customer for life.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just A Quick Tip For All The Jewelry Designers

I recently read somewhere that you should name your jewelry pieces. I started thinking about it and while I know that having keywords in your title is essential to the piece 'getting found' in searches on search engines, I believe that naming your jewelry can definitely contribute to the 'click' factor of the piece. The name you give it can be a 'teaser' to a potential customer. The name could have them so intrigued, they'll want to click through to the item to read the description and potentially lead to a sale.

Just don't leave the customer high and dry when they click through to the description. You need to continue intriguing them with a description that 'grabs' them, making them feel like they absolutely need that piece of jewelry.

You want the name to invoke some kind of interest, want, desire or even fantasy. Emotions are what push people to make purchases. If you target their emotional buying power then you are more likely to get the sale.

I have recently listed a few new pieces in my shop and gave them names, I definitely have to work on my descriptions, but I figured I would give it a shot and also share the idea with you. If you do try it, I hope it works well for you :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Today's Etsy Tip

When posting pictures of your items make sure they are not only crisp and clear but use at least 2 full shots of the item. Display them in 2 different ways and at different angles. Then do 3 pictures of the item in close-up shots at different angles. Use a different background for some of the pictures to give it some variety, but make sure that your background doesn't take away from the item itself.
Once you have your pictures uploaded and you finish your listing, immediately check and make sure that your items 1st picture looks good in gallery format. The gallery format is what is used for treasuries and we all know that treasuries make the front page.

A little tip, but photos are the key to sales :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Perfect Gift for the Perfect Valentine

This beautiful handmade bracelet is a one of a kind original and would be a perfect accessory for the outfit you are planning to wear on Valentine's Day.

Or for the men, this bracelet will definitely show her how much you love her with all the lampwork silver foil glass beads and bright red swarovski crystals. There is a silver tone metal toggle clasp closure.

This bracelet is only $25 and you can find it at my Etsy shop

Don't forget Valentine's Day is only 38 days away!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Tip of the Day

When shipping your packages out to customers it is best to use a return label that just has your first and last name instead of your shop name.
If your shop name makes reference to what you sell, ex. Jenny's Jewels or Carla's Crystal Creations - you may be targeting your package for theft by revealing what the contents of the package might contain.
Don't get me wrong, I am by no means accusing the Postal Service or any of its employees of stealing, but I know by experience that living on a quiet country road can be a perfect opportunity for someone to take my mail.
It's better to be safe than sorry.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Using Google Checkout on your Etsy shop

Google Checkout is another option you can give your customers as a means of payment. Right now Google Checkout is available in the US and the UK

The transaction fees for Google Checkout is lower than what Paypal is charging

Right now Paypal charges 1.9% to 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction and Google Checkout is 2% + $0.20 per transaction.

How to set up your Etsy store to accept Google Checkout

First click on ‘Your Etsy’

Under ‘shop setup’ click payment methods

Then check ‘other’

*Let customers know that you accept Google Checkout by putting it in your shop announcements or in your ‘shop policies’. Be sure to let the customer know that they will have to wait for you to send them an invoice.

Sending the customer an invoice from Google Checkout

Login to Google

Click ‘tools’

Click ‘send an invoice’

Fill out the invoice

Click ‘send invoice’

Here are some helpful links to assist you with Google Checkout

Google Checkout

Getting Started

Merchant Help